David Tilley’s Matchbox Top 10 of 2022

It’s that time of year again. Today, I am running down my top 10 list of Matchbox products. As you know, that is all I collect. I have no idea what other manufacturers make, or what they look like. I pay no attention. And as this is me, I am going overboard as only I can. John asks for a Top 10? Sure. Top 10 new castings. Check! Top 10 new liveries. Check! And for fun, my top 10 random extras that I just wanted to throw in for fun. Check! I did it last year. I liked the concept. So I am doing it again. So before I get to the real meat of the rundown, my 10 random extras to whet people’s appetites.

Number 1. Most surprising carry forward.

That has to go to the MB989 4×4 Scrambulance. I know I am in the minority with this one. But, I have always loved this little casting. Sure, it is a Matchbox originals casting. Sure, it is a little weird. But, hello! Who are we talking about here? When it was announced that the Jurassic World series was coming back for 2022 in line with the Dominion film, I was told that there would be a number of new items mixed in with various models carried forward. I was expecting many items from 2018 and 2019, from the time when Matchbox really got on top of the Jurassic licence. As many know, they got a licence to produce toys so late in the day in 2015, when the original Jurassic World film was launched, that they just didn’t have time to make anything realistic. All they could do was to grab a bunch of castings that sort of worked, and simply add in some sort of Jurassic theme to them.

The Scrambulance was perhaps the most realistic of the lot. It was given a side design that featured the correct logo, and was on a silver vehicle with blue stripe. Something akin to vehicles seen in the film. But even then, I was not expecting this to make a reappearance. When I saw it, I almost fell over. I had a great big smile on my face. I honestly don’t think any other 2015 release could have worked now. But this one? Yes. And I am happy it did.

Number 2. Biggest facepalm as I realized something had never been done before.

Oh look, another Jurassic. This was the MB1128 ’93 Ford Explorer. It was one of the original tour vehicles from the Jurassic Park films. It has been a part of the series since they really went to town in 2018. As we know, the 2 vehicles were 04 and 05. 05 popped back up in a single pack for 2022, and 04 was in a 5-pack. At first, I simply wondered if this was a shade in some way to the old one. Then I facepalmed! Wait a sec. 04 had been sold covered in mud. Then wrecked. It was never sold clean.

Something that has now happily been rectified. I just can’t believe it took 4 years to get the clean one. I tell you, this Jurassic stuff this year has proven to be incredible. You will notice more later.

Number 3. Best update to a model.

This is a casting that has definitely improved so much over an older one. When Matchbox released the newest generation of Mustang, they did so as a convertible. It wasn’t awful, but the front and rear ends did look a little flat. When a later hardtop GT arrived, the curves were so much better defined. Now we have the MB1306 Mustang Convertible in the Moving Parts range, and boy has this thing improved over its regular counterpart.

And it is not down to the doors opening. The front and rear ends are just so much better than before. I was close to putting this in my top 10 for new castings. It was pretty much last to be knocked out. So Top 12?

Number 4. Most fun carry forward.

The MB684 VW Golf V GTi made a very fun return as a part of a Pizza Hut Pizza Run playset. Not only was the casting modified between the initial release in 2017, but now it also came with this cool roof element on top. So much fun.

After a Mini had a chair roof element added in 2021, and now this in 2022, I am hoping they keep coming up with extra parts that can be clicked on to vehicles. They are so much fun.

Number 5. Best shade variation.

Hands down, the MB1239 Toyota Hilux in batch D of the basic range saw an awesome shade variation mid-run. Bright green and greyish green were just so different. It is more akin to a running change than just a shade.

I live for shade variations (as if anybody was surprised) and this was definitely the biggest highlight in my quest for finding shades on a model.

Number 6. Best new recurring theme.

The MB1166 ’54 Henry J Gasser arrived in the Moving Parts this year in a really cool Edelbrook scheme. I was really blown away with this design, and when a certain MB300 ’56 Ford Pickup later turned up in the same design as a Local Cruisers batch B release, I immediately started thinking to myself “new recurring theme”.

I love this look, and am really hoping that this is just the beginning of an awesome new recurring theme in the Matchbox brand.

Number 7. Best homage.

The MB1268 ’72 Custom VW Beetle Dragster debuted early this year in a green look in Mattel Creations. This immediately was an instant homage to the classic Lesney-era Dragon Wheels of 1972. I do love when a model pays homage to the past. The MBX Draggin’ Wheels livery was a very clever “almost, but not quite” name check.

Now I admit, I was never a great fan of the original, but as a homage, this is top-notch.

Number 8. Best carry forward.

Not to be confused with my first pictures of most surprising carry forward. This was a carry forward from back in 2003, before the current team took over the brand. I love when they look at the history of castings, with a view to carry something forward, they dive deep.

The MB517 Dodge Viper GTSR was a very cool update. The Matchbox logo was updated. The wheels were updated. The paint was more metallic. But you could tell what it was, and I loved it!

Number 9. Most fun livery.

The MB1266 ’18 Dodge Durango was sold in black in the basic range, white in a Dodge set, and in red for Hitch & Haul. It had an extremely busy debut year. The best of the 3 was easily the Hitch & Haul variant. It isn’t until you see the front and rear of the model that you see all the fun they were having. I [heart] Camping on the front.

But the rear was just chock-a-block with logos. I love these little touches on models. This one really sets the red apart from black and white.

Number 10. Best double take.

This was a big surprise. The MB990 ’68 Toyota FJ Land Cruiser being released in not one, but 2 different National Parks looks. At first, people thought it was the same model, but then the realization that they were different kicked in, and the Retro one being so hard to find as well.

I thought it was such a cool surprise. I do enjoy National Parks, and now having 2 of these, I am looking at the past and wondering what other ones can come back for a new outing.

So, now that these are done, it is time to get on with the Top 10s. Yes, Top 10s (plural). As I did last year, I will begin with a rundown of my favourite 10 looks on existing castings, and then run through my favourite 10 looks on new castings. There are 2 things that I would like to point out first, though. Firstly, I am still to obtain some models. Batches F, G & H of Moving Parts are not with me yet. These had some really cool models in them, and some that could have quite easily hit my top 10. The Morris Minor Convertible was one I was really looking forward to. The Dodge Charger and Mitsubishi Evo IV were also looking to be possible winners for me. I also don’t own the final batch of Collectors yet, or the final batch of 9-packs. So, as it stands, anything that was in any of those batches is not included, because I am only including models I actually have. And yes, some I have not been through on my blog write-ups yet. Secondly, a model as a new casting is literally the debut. Some models debuted in 2022, and then saw further outings. The Dodge Durango above is one such example. Black would have been under new castings. White and red under new looks. It makes sense to me, and I hope it does to others too. So without further ado, my top 10 rundown of new looks on existing castings.

Number 10 – MB1184 ’65 Land Rover Gen II Safari – Albuquerque Dealer model issue.

I love this look. Definitely a stunner, and this shade of green is absolutely awesome. I was totally stunned when I saw it, and out of the 4 Gathering models, even though a Corvette is nicer than a Land Rover in general, this end result for the Land Rover was a stunner.

National Parks & Lakes! Is this a new offshoot to the National Parks theme? One that may be seen more in premium releases? I don’t know. I hope this is the start of something new. Because this was a gorgeous issue.

Number 9 – MB1071 Honda Ridgeline – MBX Road Crew II 5-pack issue.

I cannot explain it. I just love this look. My favourite Ridgeline release to date. Well, maybe I can. Growing up, I was gifted a Lotus Europa as a kid in black with gold pin striping and JPS logo. Yeah, cigarette logos on a kid’s toy. A different time back then. It never made me want to smoke. I didn’t even know what JPS was as a kid. But I loved the black with gold pin striping. When I saw this, it immediately took me back to my childhood.

And sometimes, that is what is important. A sense of nostalgia, and something that brings a great big smile to my face. As the year progressed, this model kept sticking with me as something that just stuck out. I knew it would be a contender, and when I pulled out the 20-30 models and started thinning out the herd, this one just would not go. It made the list.

Number 8 – MB1111 Mercedes-Benz Unimog U520 – Best of Germany issue.

I love this casting. When it first arrived in the Jurassic World series, I was desperate to see it used anywhere else. I honestly thought it would end up as a Jurassic exclusive, and we would be denied seeing any others. So when it was announced that it was going to be in the Best of Germany series, I was really happy.

And then I saw the end result. Silver with a Polizei theme. Absolutely phenomenal. I was so stoked. I couldn’t wait to get it. It has not disappointed.

Number 7 – MB1221 ’20 Chevy Corvette – Mattel Creations issue.

I love the Gulf look. When Matchbox finally started seeing some back in 2018, I was so over the moon. I have enjoyed every release of them to date. But I am a bit of a Corvette fan, and therefore getting it on the new Corvette this year has been nothing short of brilliant.

Being a premium issue too, this means we get full detailing for the model. It looks stunning. And I am so happy they went with the core issue of the Corvette as well, rather than the Moving Parts issue with opening rear. I prefer this casting. So a win-win from me.

Number 6 – MB1258 Nissan GT-R Nismo – Japan exclusive issue.

This is where I mentioned debuts of castings, and then more later. The Nissan debuted in the first batch of Collectors this year, officially as a late 2021 model. But as it was late, it was not in my last Top 10 list. But, when I actually got the white one, I have to say, it probably wouldn’t have made the list. When they came out with this red one for the Japanese Moving Parts market, I was shocked. The white was a premium. This was a core issue. This one is so much better.

The detailing to this actually appeared to have improved over the detailing to the more expensive premium issue. Totally against expectations. I love this red look. I have a feeling it will be tough to top it.

Number 5 – MB1244 ’70 Ford Capri – Retro issue.

The Ford Capri is one of my favourite castings from Matchbox. It debuted in 2021, and won my poll for new castings. This year saw 3 different issues. Blue was the basic range issue, yellow for Best of UK, but out of all of them, this green from the Retro series was my favourite. I just love it. So simple. A little side detailing.

A little front detailing. I have 3 of them. It was good for shades. An absolute stunner in my eyes.

Number 4 – MB947 Porsche 911GT3 – basic range super chase issue.

Yes, you have read this right. I am a huge Porsche fan. The 911 is my favourite car of all time. Any generation. You say it is a 911, and I am all over it. This is an absolutely phenomenal model, and I love that they used it as a super chase. The black with red, orange and yellow striping is terrific. I love how they keep adding Superfast to the chase models. This is definitely one of my ultimate favourite castings, and this is a great look.

But, I have to say, there were a few that, when it comes to me judging purely on the look of the end result, not the vehicle itself, did beat it.

Number 3 – ’75 Opel Kadett C Coupe – Leipzig convention Best Buddy model issue.

Another green issue. Green was definitely a good colour this year. And this particular shade of green just hit me. Wow! As soon as I opened the box, I knew this was going to be one of the biggest highlights of the year. The whole set of 4 were great. There was a yellow one, an orange, and a pink one. But green just stood out. Easily.

Being a promotional does help. They can go nuts and tampo print as much as they want. No limits. This green though. I just love it.

Number 2 – MB1267 ’64 Chevy C10 Longbed – Collectors issue.

Words cannot explain just how cool I thought this rusty look was. As soon as I saw this, I was just blown away. Back in 1999, Matchbox released a Scrapyard 5-pack with a rusty look to 5 different models. None were anywhere close to this. The weathered bumpers, the tired looking design. Everything about it just screamed awesome to me.

The model had actually arrived at the start of the year as a Mattel Creations issue. That was in tan, which was nice. It matched a 1963 C10. I thought it was cool. But it didn’t speak to me the way this one did. This one really knocked it out of the park. I am so hoping for another rusty looking vehicle in the future. They have set a precedent now. So what was top in the new looks poll?

Number 1 – MB423 Porsche 911 Cabriolet – basic range issue.

It did have to be a Porsche 911, didn’t it. The MB423 has been with us since 1999. Am I getting tired of it? No! Never! This year, the model came in a dark metallic green (yes, that’s 4 green vehicles out of 10), and featured simple front and rear detailing, and some lovely gold wheels.

Simple, straightforward, and just about perfect. I can not ask for anything more. This is one of the nicest looks this casting has ever seen. 23 years in, and it is still going strong. It just blew me away when I got it.

So, now we are on to the all-important Top 10 new castings. As I stated, those not received yet have sadly been ignored. I saw a prepro of the Morris Minor at the Gathering in July. It was so cut, and likely would have been in the list. But I don’t have it, so cannot include it. I am only going with castings I possess. So on we go.

Number 10 – MB1340 ’40 Dodge V-series Pickup – Dodge series issue.

Oh look, it’s green. Seriously. What is it and green? I admit, when it was announced that the Dodge series was getting this new casting, exclusively for 2022, I was a little non-plussed. I did not know what the real vehicle was. When I got it, I thought this looks perfect. I then Googled the real vehicle for more information, and the more I read up, the more it grew on me. The attention to detail was just amazing.

Especially they way that they have made the bed out of the body part, mixed in with the wheel arches inside. A different way to construct a model, and it looks fantastic. I was not expecting this to be so high, but I laid out all the new castings in front of me, to make a choice, and slowly whittled things down until I was left with the 10. And this was still there. It actually shocked me, being so high up.

Number 9 – MB1317 ’21 Ford Bronco – Moving Parts issue.

This vehicle is just so cute. I loved the Bronco when Ford announced this new one arriving. Hearing Matchbox was going to make one was music to my ears. When the basic range issue hit in 2021, I was really happy. But there was a part of me that thought the shorter wheelbase 2-door variant was nicer. Such a shame they didn’t do it. Well, they did. Put it in Moving Parts this year with opening doors.

This just took the thrill of getting the new Bronco, and multiplied it. The orange was such a lovely debut look too. I am very happy with this one.

Number 8 – MB1275 ’86 Ford F-150 – Jurassic World Dominion issue.

Whoa! This is another pickup? Another classic. And what a debut. This was actually in the Jurassic World Dominion film, so it is a very logical model to make. Perfectly stock. A beautiful red with tan side, and even a little of extra detailing across the front grille. I was not expecting this to be such a lovely debut.

A quintessential US workhorse of a pickup. I was so impressed with how this turned out. Very well done.

Number 7 – MB1323 ’75 Mitsubishi Lancer Celeste – Moving Parts issue.

This is another of those castings I was not expecting to be so high up. The Lancer Celeste was announced, a photo was shown, and my thoughts were, hmm! It was nice, but I did not expect the end result to be this nice in miniature. It definitely grew on me, once I had the model in hand. Honestly, even in the package, I was still going hmm! Once I opened it, though, I was mesmerized. Wow! This is a really nice little model.

The lovely, detailed engine is just the icing on the cake to this. It jumped up a great many places once I had it. Again, great work from the team on this casting.

Number 6 – MB1278 ’18 Jeep Wrangler – Jurassic World Dominion.

This, just like the Ford Bronco, is a 2-door variant of a casting that Matchbox has already released in 4-door format. The older casting is one of my favourites, but again, making the shorter version with 2 doors has just upped the cuteness level a zillion. It is so nice. My favourite new Jeep of the year. Well, my favourite Jeep of the year. The Jurassic themed look is just perfect. This is a replica of the vehicle used in the film. You cannot go wrong with it. I hope we see more of this one in the future.

Number 5 – MB1300 Porsche 918 Spyder – basic range issue.

I am here with the Porsches again. Well, would you expect much less from me as a huge Porsche nut? The 918 Spyder was not something I thought they would do. 5 years ago, if somebody had suggested they make this, I would have laughed and said they would never be allowed. How things change.

It does appear somewhat late, but I am still taking it. It is a great little casting, and the end result was just spectacular.

Number 4 – Mb1332 ’75 Range Rover – Opening Parts issue.

Back in 1975, Matchbox released Police Patrol. It was a Range Rover, but they had created it as a Rolamatics vehicle, with a huge dome on the roof, with a siren that would spin around in the roof when the model rolled along. I remember as a kid wishing it was just a regular Range Rover. Ever since, I have always had that thought in the back of my mind. Want to hear a story? Back in 2005, I was speaking with John Coyne. At the time, he was head of the Matchbox brand, and I told him my story of growing up and wishing for an actual Range Rover instead of the Police Patrol. He liked it, and turned to a colleague and mentioned the idea of a Range Rover. Well, that ended up as the 2006 Range Rover Sport.

But the original? Still in my head. 2019, and a “new” Range Rover finally arrived. Yes! But still not the original. Finally, after 3 and a half decades of waiting? The original. And wow! It does not disappoint. It is everything I wanted it to be. And more. The opening engine bay was a brilliant touch. Left or right-hand drive? Way to make me palpitate over getting multiples each time. This is a terrific new casting.

Number 3 – MB1305 Porsche Cayenne Turbo – Best of Germany issue.

Wait? What? That’s the new Cayenne. Not the older one that Matchbox had used since 2005. I spoke with Abe after it debuted, and he mentioned them going to Porsche to ask for another go with the old one, and Porsche asking if they can do the new instead. Sure. Thank you, Porsche! I liked the old one. But getting the updated new casting it even better. I am so happy to see this debut, and it was a very quiet debut. No mention of it being new. It was only when you got it, you realized it was not the one you were expecting.

A Porsche, and a surprise? This was a real winner to me. Mind you, I say that. This was only number 3.

Number 2 – MB1303 Ford Mustang Mach-E – basic range issue.

I admit, this even surprised myself. When Ford announced that they were making a Ford Mustang Mach-E, my first thought was “I hope Matchbox make one”. Yeah, it is a bit of a go-to response to a lot of car announcements in my head. Then, in 2021, they announced it was coming for 2022 in the basic range. My thought? Woohoo! And then I get the model, and I just love it. I can’t explain it, but in hand, this thing is just gorgeous. I admit, if I was to get an electric car, I would likely get this in real life. What could would I go for? Hmm! Red? My favourite colour. Sure.

So this is a replica of my “realistic” driving choice. It is no wonder it comes in so high in my list. But of course, there would only ever be one winner this year.

Number 1 – MB1330 ’20 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S – Moving Parts issue.

Just take my money! That is my response to this one. It is perfect. End of!

Red again. My favourite colour. And this solid red on a fancy sports car always looks good. I could not ask for a more perfect debut. The simple detailing front and rear again is just incredible. They can do no wrong with the tampo here.

I think I have a certain Michael Heralda to thank for this look. And to be honest, quite a few others in this list. I have seen his signature appear a few times on some of my favourite models. He knows how to design. Matchbox knows how to create models I like. It was tough choosing an entire top 10 for each category (new castings, new looks).

Of course, for both, I knew the winner. But sorting the rest into order took it out of me. So that’s it. No more blog reports. Until Monday. Because, I am still doing a regular report on Monday. I hope you enjoyed my run down. I bet it is nothing like anybody else’s.

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